African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 389

Full Length Research Paper

Berbera basing politics: Understanding actors, interests, and animosities

Najah M. Adam
  • Najah M. Adam
  • Department of Diplomacy and International Relations, EUCLID University, Gambia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 08 May 2017
  •  Accepted: 05 June 2017
  •  Published: 31 July 2017


The presence of forward forces in foreign soil is not a modern notion, but is thought-provoking when a small state projects its military might in multiple locations of a similar strategic importance. The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) base lease in Berbera is a case in point which attracted a reproach from the public, and politicians. The joint parliament sitting to approve the draft agreement further complicated the reproach, resulting in many stakeholders to argue that the approval process suffered insufficient consultation, citing ambiguity, and suspicion. Berbera basing politics is critical to Somaliland’s national security, but gained little scholarly attention that can explain the rationale, and the underlying assumptions. This paper will, therefore, provide a qualitative assessment on impact of UAE’s overseas defense posture on Somaliland’s political direction. Specifically, it tends to analyze the structural architect of the basing politics including  actors, interests, risks (animosities), and prophesy on scenarios for use. This paper uses secondary and primary sources to sketch out the key issues; it also employs relevant international relations theories: security dilemma, deterrence, defensive, proxy war, geopolitics, pre-emption, beggar-thy-neighbour, and safe-haven concepts to make sense on this matter. 

Key words: National security, basing politics, interests, actors, animosity, deterrence, collective security, collective defense.